The most beautiful bread you'll ever make, this Star Bread might look intimidating but the technique is actually quite straightforward. I'll be walking you through every steps with a detailed recipe, lots of pictures (above in the post), and a how-to video!
4-5cupsall-purpose flourdivided plus additional as needed (500-625g + additional as needed)
FOR FILLING (see note 2 for other filling options)
½cuplight brown sugarfirmly packed (100g)
6Tablespoonsunsalted butter softenedit needs to be soft enough to easily spread, so pop it in the microwave for a few seconds if you find it’s still difficult to spread
FOR TOPPING (Optional, see note 3 for other great topping choices)
Coarse sugar for sprinklingmay substitute regular granulated sugar
Combine milk and water in a microwave-safe container and heat in the microwave until it reaches a temperature between 105-115F (40-46C). Always stir before checking the temperature as microwaves often heat unevenly.
Pour the milk/water mixture into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle yeast and just a pinch (about 1 teaspoon) of your granulated sugar over the mixture, then stir and allow it to sit for about 5-10 minutes or until yeast is foamy. If your yeast does not foam it is most likely dead or the milk was not at the proper temperature and you will need to start over.
Once yeast is foamy, add remaining granulated sugar, melted butter, egg and egg yolk, salt, and 2 cups (250g) flour. Stir well until everything is well-combined.
Gradually add additional flour (this can be done by hand or with stand mixer and dough hook attachment on low-speed) until dough clings to itself and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
When enough flour has been added the dough will be slightly tacky to the touch, but not so sticky that it’s unmanageable. It's possible that you may use less or need to usae more dough than the recipe indicates, go by texture! See the video above for a visual.
If making by hand, transfer dough to a clean, lightly floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic (or about 5 minutes with dough hook on low speed in stand mixer).
Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turn the dough to coat the entire surface with oil, cover bowl, and allow it to rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size (1-2 hours).
Once dough has risen turn out onto a clean surface and divide into 4 even balls (if it’s sticky and tough to manage, lightly flour the dough). Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes. Meanwhile prepare your filling.
Whisk together brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Make sure your butter is soft enough to spread.
ASSEMBLY (please note that I have step-by-step photos in the post as well as a video in case you are more of a visual learner).
Uncover your dough rounds and, working with one at a time, place on a lightly floured surface and roll into an 11” (28cm) round circle. Carefully transfer one circle to a parchment paper lined baking sheet (see note 4).
Spread approximately 2 Tablespoons of the softened butter evenly over the surface, leaving a ½” (1.2cm) perimeter around the edge.
Sprinkle evenly with a third of the cinnamon mixture, then place another circle of dough over the top. Spread another 2 Tablespoons of butter and sprinkle half of the remaining mixture, repeat with your next circle of dough and the remaining butter and mixture, then top with your last circle of dough (you will not put anything on top of this one, at least not yet). Trim the dough with kitchen shears (or a knife or pizza wheel) as needed so that the layers are all close to the same size.
Use approximately 1 ½” (4cm) cookie cutter or wine glass rim to mark a ring in the center of the dough. Use kitchen shears to cut four even spaced cuts (through all layers of dough) from the edge to the edge of the mark you made.
Repeat until you have 16 evenly spaced cuts.
Take two strands that are beside each other, one in each hand. Twist the pieces away from each other once, then twice, then another half turn. Pinch the edges together very firmly (you don’t want them coming apart in the oven!). Repeat with the remaining pieces until you have a beautiful complete star.
Lightly cover the dough with a clean towel and allow to rest for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350F (175C).
Once dough has rested and oven is ready, remove the towel and, in a small dish, whisk together egg and water. Lightly brush this evenly over the bread, then sprinkle evenly with coarse or granulated sugar (as much or little as you’d like!).
Transfer to 350F (175C) oven and bake for 20-24 minutes or until golden brown or a thermometer inserted in the thickest part f the bread reaches 185-190F (85-88C). Allow to cool a bit then enjoy!
You may use instant yeast instead. If doing so, combine it with the sugar, salt, and half the flour then add the warmed milk/water and stir well. Then proceed with the recipe, stirring in butter, eggs, and remaining flour as needed.
The options are nearly endless for different fillings you could use. Use the chocolate filling from my Chocolate Sweet Rolls, spread cream cheese mixed with some granulated sugar and raspberry jam, or how about a Nutella filling?
This is my preferred topping and the egg wash adds a beautiful browning to the top of the bread and the sugar adds a nice sweet crispness to the top (my favorite part of the bread!). Other options are to just dust the top of the bread with powdered sugar, drizzle with a vanilla glaze (I recommend the same one I use in my coffee cake), the chocolate glaze I use in my chocolate sweet rolls, or just enjoy plain.
4) Baking pan
A pizza pan is ideal because it accommodates the shape of the star bread well, but if you don’t have one just use a cookie sheet. If you don’t have parchment paper just bake the bread directly on the ungreased pan.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.